Although comments in today’s Sun criticising Jeremy Corbyn for not being ‘sorry enough’ about the atrocities in Paris last Friday are nonsensical—it’s almost as if a newspaper hardly sympathetic to him is saying that being sorry is not enough you have to be really sorry—his comments today have been, to say the least, ill thought. His interview of Laura Kuenssberg revisited his attitude to military intervention in Syria on which little was added to his well-established views…what is needed is a diplomatic and political solution to Syria and bombing by Britain will do nothing to achieve this. It was, however, his statement that he is ‘not happy’ with UK police or security services operating a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy in the event of a terror attack. He also declined to answer what he called the ‘hypothetical question’ of whether he would ever back military intervention against extremists: ‘I'm not saying I would or I wouldn't’, he said. But Mr Corbyn came under attack at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, with Labour MP John Mann saying his niece had found herself trapped in a Paris toilet for three hours ‘thinking she was going to be murdered’. Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs committee, said the shoot-to-kill policy was right and the special services do need that power in extreme circumstances…’We live in dark and dangerous times and the shoot-to-kill policy, specifically aimed at terrorists in a hostage situation, is the right policy given the emergency situation that members of the special services will find themself in.’
Herein lies his problem and why his position as leader of the Labour Party will, I suspect, be short-lived. Though people will be sympathetic to what he says, many others will find his timing thoroughly offensive. Given that he repeated these things on Sky and other news outlets, he is clearly positioning himself as the conscience of the country. That may be a perfectly honourable position to take as an oppositional backbench MP but not as Leader of the Opposition who could, in the future, be responsible for people’s security.